Project of the Month | Cross Purpose

The Salvation Army wanted its post-earthquake Christchurch headquarters to welcome people back into the inner city with warmth and love, and the Christian organisation's new purpose-built City Corps complex does that and more. 

Realising nine years of vision and planning with construction company Arrow International, the Christchurch City Worship and Community Centre is fast becoming an iconic building on Colombo Street. It's already a fantastic resource for The Salvation Army's many worship, outreach, fellowship and support activities.

While the earthquakes meant seven years of relocation and the Salvation Army's services being sorely missed, the new permanent home, which centralises services, is bringing a sense of wellbeing back to the post-quake city.

Featuring a modern, minimalist design based on the shape of a cross, it offers a series of flexible spaces, including a world-class 350-seat auditorium, a large multi-purpose hall and a commercial kitchen.

This combination of spaces allows The Salvation Army and the wider community to use the new centre in ways the previous facilities could not support. For example, far from the new auditorium being an exclusive citadel, the New Zealand Army band recorded its last album here.

In conceiving the building, Dalman Architects paid careful attention to urban design principals, and also to the spiritual needs of the organisation and the wider needs of the community.

They determined that the Christian cross would be the central design device for the site plan and that it would provide the main circulation spine throughout the building.

The cross not only speaks to the Salvation Army's spiritual vision and belief system, but also supports the functional need for a flexible, multi-use facility.

The spacious worship hall takes prominence on the Colombo Street corner of the building, while offices and meeting rooms are located at different points of the cross.

Visibility from the street was also a crucial design element. The Salvation Army wanted plenty of glass so passersby can see inside and be attracted into the premises, particularly at night when the interior is lit up.

Special attention to detail had to be paid to seismic issues during the $13.5 million build and the resource consent process was lengthy and, at times, challenging. The complex is made up of two structures, which are separated for seismic reasons.

The building also features such devices as special joints to allow for seismic movement without compromising aesthetics, and bespoke fabricated steel trusses designed to support the curved ceiling in the worship area.

The Salvation Army has a long-standing relationship with Arrow International and has relied on Arrow's partnership and expertise to deliver fit-for-purpose facilities across the country that cater to the evolving needs of the communities they serve.



The Salvation Army Christchurch City Worship and Community Centre

853 Colombo Street, Christchurch

Owner The Salvation Army Christchurch City

Design and Build Arrow International

Architects Dalman Architecture

Services Engineer Airtech

Structural Engineer Structex

Quantity Surveyor AECOM

Photography Stephen Goodenough


This article was originally published in the 2018 Property Council New Zealand Rider Levett Bucknall Property Industry Awards Magazine.

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